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"Speed Cameras - Do they work?"

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Wed 11/08/10 at 15:33
Moderator
"possibly impossible"
Posts: 24,985
Recent news reports have suggested the police in various areas are up in arms about the Government's attempts to reduce the amount of Speed Cameras in the UK.

The cynical among us may suggest this is due to the revenue stream the police enjoy from speeding fines but the question remains; do speed cameras really work?

There are 2 things I'd like to point out:
-If many people are caught by cameras then the cameras aren't obviously having an effect.
-I've seen plenty of occassions where drivers have been speeding and then slowed down for the camera, only to begin speeding again.

In addition, do drivers spend more time looking at their speed on the dashboard if approaching a speed camera and does this have a detrimental effect on their concentration of the road in front of them?

Personally I think that if speed cameras are to be used then they should be hand-held ones that can be used anywhere at any time. That way drivers would need to watch their speed on any road. In addition, the percentage either side of the speed to allow for variance in the instruments of the car should be increased slightly to allow for this.

Personally I'm all for going the correct speed, I've seen too many accidents to know it's not just a silly precaution and I've seen far too many drivers come right up the back of me when I've been going the right speed on a 30mph stretch of road.
Tue 17/08/10 at 12:24
Regular
"@RichSmedley"
Posts: 10,009
I don't think the fixed speed cameras work as people know where they are and speed up and slow down between them, however the average speed ones, where they take an anerage speed of say 2 miles do as you have to stick to the speed limit or get caught.

The problem I have is why some are placed where they are, I know there are criteria to be able to put a speed camera in a certain place (IE so many serious / fatal accidents in the last so many years) but some just seem to be put up for the sake of it.
Tue 17/08/10 at 09:56
Staff Moderator
"Mr Dean"
Posts: 170
Sonic Chris wrote:
> But can't you get booked for underspeeding aswell? I always
> thought that if your driving was at all potentially dangerous,
> you could be stopped. And I don't understand how acceleration
> would be significantly lowered with a lower cap, or even how it
> would be dangerous :S

When they speed limit company vehicles, they usually fit a system that cuts off your accelerator pedal by pressing the clutch when you hit a certain number of RPM, for example 3000. Obviously, if for any reason you need to speed up quickly, this can make things very difficult. Also, if you need to break, you just end up coasting until the RPM drops again and forces you forward if you haven't pressed the clutch in.

If you have a decent acceleration, you can pull out and pick up your speed to that of the flow of traffic without forcing the car behind to react (obviously you leave space so if they do need to stop for you they can). If they have to react then so does the car behind and the car behind them, the more cars that have to react, the more that can go wrong.

I used to drive a 1ltr Fiat Uno and pulling out onto a really busy roundabout can be really difficult (and potentially dangerous), compared to having a car with better acceleration.

> *EDIT* To bring general driving into the equation, maybe the
> tests should be harder? I know alot of people who are disgraceful
> at driving, yet they've just about passed, and are now roaming
> the streets.

Anyone can drive like an angel to pass their test, then just drive how they want to afterwords. This is why I think they need to enforce it better.
Mon 16/08/10 at 17:18
Regular
"@optometrytweet"
Posts: 4,686
dean5 wrote:
> HM wrote:
> pb's idea of GPS controlled speed on cars would be an excellent
> idea.
>
> Yea this would be great to the point where people ignore hazards
> and just keep their foot on 'go'. End up running over some poor
> kid near a school or shooting around the corner and hitting a
> cyclist.
>
> Also what happens when it thinks I'm in the middle of a field
> when I'm actually on the A14? Slam on the breaks and slow me down
> to 2.5mph? Sounds a little iffy.

With the points you have raised it does. But then again I think drivers do have to act with their own common sense on this one. Many cars now have cruise control, so I would imagine that this would probably raise a similar (if not the same issue - bar the fact that their foot isn't actually on anything!)

You are right though and I am sure many people who do have those collisions will blame it on technology.
Mon 16/08/10 at 15:00
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,312
But can't you get booked for underspeeding aswell? I always thought that if your driving was at all potentially dangerous, you could be stopped. And I don't understand how acceleration would be significantly lowered with a lower cap, or even how it would be dangerous :S

*EDIT* To bring general driving into the equation, maybe the tests should be harder? I know alot of people who are disgraceful at driving, yet they've just about passed, and are now roaming the streets.
Mon 16/08/10 at 14:49
Staff Moderator
"Mr Dean"
Posts: 170
HM wrote:
> pb's idea of GPS controlled speed on cars would be an excellent
> idea.

Yea this would be great to the point where people ignore hazards and just keep their foot on 'go'. End up running over some poor kid near a school or shooting around the corner and hitting a cyclist.

Also what happens when it thinks I'm in the middle of a field when I'm actually on the A14? Slam on the breaks and slow me down to 2.5mph? Sounds a little iffy.
Mon 16/08/10 at 12:32
Regular
"@optometrytweet"
Posts: 4,686
dean5 wrote:
> May also be worth noting, few people have told me, although I
> can't guarantee that its a fact: You are more likely to have or
> cause an accident on a duel carriageway if you are driving
> significantly slower then other traffic. Reason being, you are
> forcing other traffic to hit the anchors and feed into one lane.
> Can't see that a car going over the speed limit slightly on a
> duel carriageway would effect other traffic in any way providing
> they do not get reckless and leave a safe breaking distance.

Great point. On the motorway the other night and (it being night and all) it was dark, so judging distances is more difficult (and there is a stretch of the M32 without lighting). The M32 is a 2 lane motorway so when I had hit 70, being stuck in a lane with a car doing 40 (and with one tail light out) caused me to whack the brakes on when it came up in front of me a lot sooner than expected.

When it was safe to overtake, my passengers queried why I was speeding. I told them I was doing 60 as we overtook and one even checked my speedo. The fact that the driver was driving so slowly baffled us all and upon glancing in my rear view mirror I noticed several other cars experiencing the same trouble I had.

Now that is more likely to have caused an accident that someone travelling at 85-90 (not condoning that speed either) but apparently that is legal, whereas speeding isn't.

pb's idea of GPS controlled speed on cars would be an excellent idea.
Mon 16/08/10 at 09:58
Staff Moderator
"Mr Dean"
Posts: 170
Numnut wrote:
> Regarding Capping speeds on production cars -
>
> I think a bigger problem is the use of speed, or how appropriate
> the speed is for the conditions you are driving in. An example
> would be: You're outside a school a kicking out time, the limit
> is 30 and the road is clear in front of you. Travelling at 30
> would be legal, but with all those kids around how safe would it
> be?. I would say perhaps 15-20 would be more appropriate if a
> little ambitious.

Have to agree with you, all it takes is a little common sense. All I ever see on roads these days is them reducing speed limits because some crazed looney has done something stupid or people not reading the road and driving the speed limit regardless of hazards. If drivers just identified the hazards on their own and thought about what they were doing, we wouldn't need a different speed limit for every corner or every stretch or road.

On the speed limiting engines front, I don't like the idea of this as it reduces acceleration speed which is sometimes needed when pulling onto a busy duel carriageway, onto a roundabout or out of a junction onto a busy road. Also where speeding is most dangerous to pedestrians (in lower limits) this would have less of an effect.

May also be worth noting, few people have told me, although I can't guarantee that its a fact: You are more likely to have or cause an accident on a duel carriageway if you are driving significantly slower then other traffic. Reason being, you are forcing other traffic to hit the anchors and feed into one lane. Can't see that a car going over the speed limit slightly on a duel carriageway would effect other traffic in any way providing they do not get reckless and leave a safe breaking distance.
Fri 13/08/10 at 21:52
Regular
Posts: 143
They are surprisingly effective. A live a few minutes' walk away from a school, situated on a long straight road - a few years ago we had as many as 20 "injuries" a year from near misses from speeding cars. Speed bumps along with the speed cameras located before said bumps, now mean we have no such incidents. They should put more speed bumps outside where I live though, because as soon as the speeders (loads at night) clear the bumps near the school they just rip through the road again.
Fri 13/08/10 at 18:28
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,312
Well lets put it this way, would you rather have a crash crash at 85, or 200? I know it's limited, but it's at least a start.
Fri 13/08/10 at 17:54
Staff
"Look! There's a..."
Posts: 430
Regarding Capping speeds on production cars -

Although it would stop people going above a certain speed, let's say 85, it wouldn't stop someone doing 85 in a 30 limit. So it's effectiveness would be limited.

I think a bigger problem is the use of speed, or how appropriate the speed is for the conditions you are driving in. An example would be: You're outside a school a kicking out time, the limit is 30 and the road is clear in front of you. Travelling at 30 would be legal, but with all those kids around how safe would it be?. I would say perhaps 15-20 would be more appropriate if a little ambitious.

Likewise,on a motorway with average traffic, 70 limit, but it's raining heavily- 70 is legal but with bad visibility and other traffic probably isn't an appropriate speed to travel, so again I wouldn't be speeding but perhaps my speed would be dangerous for the conditions.

Also, I don't go in for the I can go faster because stopping distances are reduced due to new technology. Yeah, that's true but the time it takes a driver/rider to realise they're about to hit something (reaction times) still takes the same time it always did, and if you're going that bit faster it's going to take you a bit longer to realise you have to stop.

I think speed cameras (i'm choking as I say it) do have a use at keeping people slow at a specific location so can be useful, but ultimately it's driver education which would resolve the majority of speeding incidents.

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